Monday, 25 March 2013

Glasgow Transport Museum

Do you remember the Glasgow Transport Museum? It sat round the back of the Kelvin Hall, a wonderland of old cars, a big fire engine, and best of all, the huge ship models in great glass cases. A Glasgow schoolboy could spend hours in there - and then it closed.

The museum recently reopened in a new permanent home on the banks of the Clyde, a few hundred yards downstream of the SECC on former industrial land. Like the rest of the new developments on the Clyde it is a windswept, forlorn site, especially on a dreich winter day.

Unpreprosessing surroundings:


When will this winter weather end? It will be British Summer Time in less than a fortnight! The transport museum (now called, for some reason, the Riverside Museum) is an ideal trip in such weather.

Museum Exterior:


Outside, the museum has a fashionably weird shape, designed by Zaha Hadid. Inside, it works well. What are your favourites?

Hillman Imp - Scotland's only mass produced car of the last 50 years:



The ship models of course:



I personally really like the replica of Percy Pilcher's Hawk, as pioneer aviator Percy Pilcher is one of my heroes. Next to the Hawk is the world's oldest bicycle. Cool. There's a cafe, events for children, and a last-of-the-era sailing vessel on the Clyde outside.

Clyde entrance to museum:


The best way to arrive at the museum is by boat, and summer cruises run from Braehead, Govan and Central Glasgow. I fancied seeing the Viking graves in Govan Old Parish Church as well, but the boat trips only run in summer. In the distance a cormorant stood on a mudbank, spreading its wings, and a swan sat on the rain-pocked water, turning my thoughts to the Kenneth White poem:

A late afternoon in Govan
at the junction of the Clyde and Kelvin
rain falling on sullen stone

floating on the dark, dank waters
one lone mute swan.




Like all Glasgow museums the Transport Museum is free, paid for by the municipality. So next time you're at a loose end and want to get out the house, why not revisit childhood?

1 comment:

blueskyscotland said...

I like the old streets inside the place and the building design itself. I was in it when it first opened and it was heaving with visitors. Put me off a bit as every room was crowded. Been back since then and it was quieter.
The flat area around it has been a big hit with local skateboarders.
They are down there most nights in summer jumping the ramps.
The tall ship,s good as well.